Danielle Noce’s Brazilian Carrot Cake (Bolo de Cenoura)

October 17, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

This is a cozy, remarkably easy Bundt cake that’s made in homes across Brazil—technically carrot, but acts more like pound, dressed unstintingly with streaks of gooey chocolate ganache. It also happens to be naturally tinted perfectly for Halloween (though I hope you will eat it year-round, for both dessert and breakfast). Recipe translated and adapted from I Could Kill for Dessert. To read the full story, head here.

Genius Recipes

Serves: 12


For the carrot cake:

  • 2 cups (270g) 1/2-inch (1.3cm) carrot slices (from about 3 medium carrots, scrubbed but not peeled)
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (200ml) neutral oil, like grapeseed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups (360g) sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the ganache glaze:

  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 7 tablespoons (100g) unsalted butter, in 1/2-inch (1.3cm) slices
In This Recipe


  1. Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with a rack in the center. Butter a 10-inch (25cm) Bundt pan and dust with flour or fine, dry breadcrumbs, tapping out the excess.
  2. To make the carrot cake: Pile the carrots, oil, eggs, and sugar in the blender. Blend until completely smooth. Pour the carroty mixture into a large bowl and sift the flour and baking powder over the top. Add the salt and fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula until no traces of flour remain.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) and continue baking for 30 minutes more, rotating the pan midway through baking, until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean or with just crumbs clinging.
  4. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to finish cooling.
  5. To make the glaze, once the cake is fully cooled, set up a double boiler (or a metal bowl set over a saucepan with an inch/2.5cm or so of simmering water). Add the chocolate, butter, and honey to the bowl and stir occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the glaze is well-melted and smooth. (Alternately, do this in 30-second bursts in the microwave, stirring between bursts till smooth.)
  6. Spoon the glaze over the cake and leave it to set a bit before slicing and serving.
  7. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature. If you don’t have a domed container and you don’t want to disturb the glaze, poke a few toothpicks in the top of the cake and drape plastic wrap over the top, tucking the edges beneath the cake.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|Carrot Cake|Honey|Vegetable|Chocolate|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Halloween|Mother's Day|Spring|Summer|Thanksgiving

Reviews (30) Questions (0)

30 Reviews

Beth G. December 5, 2018
Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this recipe! I first made it for my adult English as a Second Language class and have made it several times since. I have a lot of Asians and Middle Eastern adults in my class and they don't like the classic super-sweet American desserts. Every time I make this cake it gets a lot of appreciation. My kids love it too. In fact, my daughter asked for a blender so she could make it in her college dorm. She made it for my niece's housewarming and then my niece wanted the recipe and immediately made it again. It's a carrot cake that actually tastes like carrots.
amy November 2, 2018
I'm sorry but this is the second cake I've made from a Food52 recipe that was bland. (The other was the one bowl chocolate cake.) I loved the olive oil cake from Maialino, but this one needs spice. Doesn't taste like carrot at all and didn't have the density of the olive oil cake. The only thing that saves it is the chocolate glaze, but I won't make it again.
plotto September 18, 2018
Mine came out only 2 1/2 inches high. I don't think I over-mixed the batter. Thoughts? Even though it was short, it was a big hit. Even with my sister, who does NOT like carrot cake.
Kristen M. September 18, 2018
Hm, the only things I can think of are that your Bundt pan might be broader than the one pictured (which is about 10" in diameter) and/or that your baking powder had lost its mojo. Glad it was a hit even at a smaller stature!
Tina April 25, 2018
How about using an immersion blender instead of other choices.
Kristen M. September 18, 2018
Sorry I missed this, Tina—it's worth a try if your immersion blender is fairly powerful. Make sure the sides of the bowl are high and you try to keep the blender submerged to avoid flying carrot bits!
kilikat March 22, 2018
So delicious. I'd take this over regular old carrot cake any day!
bhilz February 22, 2018
Made a very similar version of this yesterday with GF all purpose flour in the cake and coconut oil instead of butter for the glaze. I also added the zest of an orange. Accommodated all of the dietary restrictions in my group and was a huge hit! Even those "not into desserts" asked for seconds!
Kathinka January 1, 2018
Great cake - and a breeze to make! Served it for a birthday party today, and it did deserve all the love it got.
Katrina T. December 31, 2017
Absurdly easy. Totally delicious. Added zest of 2 oranges. My husband tasted the carrot, i tasted the orange. A keeper.
Sally J. December 31, 2017
I made this because I thought it looked interesting for a post christmas lunch in australia (cool day for the choc covering!!!) but made some slight changes - I substituted Carotino oil (because it's orange) and added 1 teaspoon of orange oil and the grated rind of an orange to the cake. I also substituted demerara sugar. In the ganache glaze I added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Everyone loved it and thought it was a great variation on the usual carrot cake. I got 4 requests for the recipe from a table of 4 couples. This one is going in the family recipe book, although I thought I might try a pinch of chilli (like a chilli chocolate cake) next time!! Happy New Year all
Linda December 26, 2017
Delicious even with GF flour. With three celiacs in the family, I keep an eye out for recipes that can be adapted for a gluten-free diet. Oil-based cakes, such as the classic Lemon Olive Oil are good candidates. This cake was superb. I took it to an elegant dinner party, telling only the GF people that it was safe for them to eat, no one else knew. People raved about it, never suspecting that GF flour was used. On the technical side, I was happy to have a high-powered blender as the carrot/oil mixture pureed perfectly. Agee that the Nordic Bundt pan is worth seeking out. I garnished mine with candied carrot curls, which were gorgeous on the deep chocolate glaze. Liked the other reviewers suggestions to add orange zest to batter as well as some vanilla. My oven might be a little on the hot side as I checked about 3 minutes before the 30 were up, because it had that 'cake' aroma. Sure enough it was done, even perhaps a little over cooked. Next time I will check at 25 minutes. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Fabulous.
Margo W. November 22, 2017
How is this on the second day? Would you suggest waiting to add the ganache until the day of if making a day before?
Kristen M. November 22, 2017
Since it's an oil-based cake (which don't stale as quickly as butter-based cakes), it's excellent and stays moist on day two, but I would wait to glaze till the day you're serving to make storing easier.
Marina D. November 19, 2017
I made this yesterday and was impressed with simplicity, colour and nice flavour. Will put this in my collection. Also baked in a nordic, just different shape.
Caryl November 5, 2017
Loved this cake! I made it from the recipe with only one change, adding a bit more honey to the glaze. The texture and flavor were great. Used Guittard bittersweet (74%) chocolate for the ganache. And the Nordic Ware Heritage bundt pan made it look like it came from a European bakery!
Lauren L. October 25, 2017
Any idea if this would work as cupcakes?
lypalmer October 23, 2017
This cake was delicious and easy to make. Used a little less sugar than called for and cooked at 400 for and still came out great. Love the color! Will definitely be making this again.
Cynthia W. October 23, 2017
Just made this (in my food processor) and it turned out beautifully. Nice texture, and love the ganache (I used 85% cocoa Lindt bar chocolate, added pinch of salt and upped the honey just a touch) . I thought the cake was a little bland, and was missing out on a 'carrot' flavour -- but still good. Next time, I think I'll add a little orange zest and/or orange oil to the cake batter. Anyone try this yet?
Lynn C. October 23, 2017
Cynthia, I had the same thought even before I tried this about possible blandness, and so I added the zest of one orange and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. I even added extra honey to the ganache, as you did. Your and my instincts are absolutely correct. It is dense and delicious without being either too sweet or too oily, and the ganache is an inspired choice for the glaze, particularly in contrast to the vanilla/orange. We had it for my granddaughter's near-Halloween birthday party, and everyone loved it! This is now on my go-to recipe list. I also went to the trouble of acquiring that same Bundt pan, which baked it perfectly. I would be cautious about baking it in any other kind of pan.
bhilz October 23, 2017
I started making Brazilian Carrot Cake while studying abroad in Brazil. Being American, I still missed the texture and flavor of the shredded carrots, so now when I make it I put half the carrot in the blender/food processor, and grate half to mix in before pouring the batter into the pan, which my Brazilian friends still eat up. I think orange zest or oil would be a really lovely addition! Will try that next time I make the recipe that I have.
Alexandra October 20, 2017
Recipe calls for 1.5 Cups / 360 grams of sugar. I weighed 1.5 C and the weight is 300 grams. I also checked King Arthur website for ingredient weights -- they too said 300 grams. That 60 grams is a significant difference. Any explanations? Suggestions?
Kristen M. October 20, 2017
You're absolutely right, that should be 1 3/4 cups (which is based off Danielle's original measurement of 360g, but 350 will work fine, too). I've updated the recipe—thank you.
phyllisc October 20, 2017
I dont own a blender - would this work in a food processor?
Kristen M. October 20, 2017
Mechanically, I think it would work totally fine, as long as your food processor is big enough to hold the batter. (If it looks like it's going past the fill line, shift to doing it in batches!)
Cynthia W. October 23, 2017
I 've just made it in my Cuisineart food processor. Worked just fine, and no problem with overflow.
rj December 27, 2017
How do you make the cool shape? That element of the recipe is not explained.
Kristen M. December 30, 2017
rj, it's thanks to this Bundt pan! https://food52.com/shop/products/3577-nordic-ware-heritage-bundt-pan
rj December 30, 2017
I was trying to figure out how to do it manually, maybe by cutting angled slices and then stacking them atop one another. That's supercool. A New Year's purchase is in sight.
Kristen M. January 1, 2018
:) This pan's definitely my favorite, but I also love checking out the other fun shapes Nordic Ware makes: https://food52.com/shop/merchants/nordic-ware